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First Lady Obama Visits Haiti

First lady Michelle Obama, along with Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, “paid a surprise visit to Haiti Tuesday, witnessing the ‘powerful’ devastation left in the wake of a massive earthquake three months ago,” Agence-France Presse reports. Obama and Biden took a helicopter tour of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and visited the “badly damaged” National Palace as well as a refugee camp.

During her visit, Obama said, “It was important for Jill and I to come now because we’re at the point where the relief efforts are underway but the attention of the world starts to wane a bit. … What is clear is that there is still so much to do.”

Biden said, “I think the one thing that we take away from it is really the strength and the resilience of the human spirit, and that’s what we saw today and that’s what we’ll take home to Washington with us” (4/13).

According to a White House statement, the trip represents “the enduring U.S. commitment to help Haiti recover and rebuild,” the Washington Post reports. The statement adds that Obama and Biden want to “thank the women and men across the whole of the U.S. government for their extraordinary efforts in Haiti during the past three months. They will also reach out to the U.N. and international relief communities in recognition of the truly global effort underway to help Haiti” (Givhan, 4/14).

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that during their five-hour visit, Obama and Biden met with Haitian President Rene Preval and his wife Elisabeth and toured a high school devastated by the quake (Sweet, 4/14).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.